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Your church’s valuable real estate

Are you using your church sign to its full potential? These are some of the 2011 Sign of the Times entries
HOW often do you receive emails with funny photos of church signs?

They’re often very witty, clever and laugh-out-loud funny.

While browsing Twitter recently, I came across a similar topic (if you’re a Twitter user, search for #churchsigns).

Curious, I followed the hashtag and found a whole list of church signs, some of which were mildly amusing, some confusing, and many of which were theologically questionable.

Quirky signs may be fun for a laugh on email, but what do they actually communicate on the side of the road?

Church signs are essentially billboards.

Even in the suburbs or regional areas, billboards rent for thousands of dollars per month.

As an example, billboard company GOA provides an illustrative rate of $750-$1500 per month for a six metre by three metre billboard, in a regional area.

Granted, it is bigger than your average church sign, but the impact of your message can be just as great.

If your church had to budget an additional $1000 per month to maintain your sign, would it make you think twice about the
message you send?

St Lucia Uniting Church interim minister Rev Maxwell Vines said their sign was looked after by a member of the congregation who sees it as a ministry to perform.

“As a form of outreach, it’s important to use this medium to try to connect with the neighbourhood and to those passing by.

Ironside State School is right across the street from our building,” said Mr Vines.

“There are so many gimmicky church signs which are almost an insult to intelligence, that we decided straightforward, down-to-earth statements and information was preferable.”

The sign is frequently used to announce events, worship times and opening hours for their thrift shop and the Church Council will often discuss other ideas that may be helpful.

At Pine Rivers Uniting Church, Rev John Gill said that the messages on church signs should welcome people in, not condemn them.

One of the congregation’s most successful messages was a simple, ‘What can we do to help you? Call us or drop in.’

“That week, we saw an increase in the number of requests for help from the community, as well as people visiting our website and checking out our online sermons,” said Mr Gill.

“Three of those people are now regular attendees at worship with our congregation.”

As it’s not always easy to come up with a fresh message each week, the Church sign checklist below may give you a useful starting point.

An online resource dedicated to church communications and marketing is www.churchmarketingsucks.com

It works from the philosophy that we have the greatest story ever told, so let’s try to stop our communications from being a
stumbling block.

The message will do the rest.

Photo : Are you using your church sign to its full potential? These are some of the 2011 Sign of the Times entries